Brian is a semi-retired GP who has worked in South East London for 35 years. Brian has always felt that general practice was an extraordinary privilege. In the last two years Brian has focused on his other interests which centre on finding practical ways of supporting citizens and patients to take more control over their health and their health services.
His two main areas of work include supporting many facets of community development (CD) in health. Brian came across a CD project on the estate where he was working as a GP. He realised that this not only offered local people a powerful avenue for influence and control over local statutory services but also made a real difference to their own confidence and strength. Brian set up and chaired a CD service in Lewisham for many years for which he was presented with the MBE.
Now, Brian works in the HELP project which is a Department of Health funded initiative. We are beginning to show that CD can make significant change to a community and its services in a few months as well as being cost-effective. We are working to spread this approach across the NHS.
Brian's other area of work is that of patient record access. Brian began sharing paper records with patients in his practice in 1984. When practices become paperless he set up a company called PAERS and has now made it possible for 60% of practices in the UK to offer their patients free access to their full GP record online. The record is reformatted so that it is easy to navigate and also key data is linked to information so that patients can understand better what they read. PAERS has also helped to write a national guidance for clinicians on sharing electronic health records with their patients.
In addition, Brian is a patient and public involvement lead for the NHS Alliance, he chairs the Socialist Health Association and is a member of the Professional Executive Committee NHS Lewisham, and a member of the NHS Evidence Advisory group.